I stand tall. Wearing seemingly impenetrable armor, a rented costume that I unfortunately do not do proud on many days. Stripes and patches clutter my torso, ultimately representing both my daughters, and their unique life experiences, as they continually intersect with CF.
This mask, I wear it well, it is hard at times for me to recognize that it is not my own skin. It mimics each part of my being. It hides a wariness that is not seen by many. Those not intimately familiar with the lines that streak my face would never see through to the conflict that muddles my heart. There is this fragility that quietly lives behind the laughs and smiles, waiting between the eves of my soul. I admit that at times it bathes me in falsities, protecting me from the tears that sit, at the ready. One wise insightful vision, one cough, one culture result away from exposing my vulnerability to the world.
I admittedly live in a world that could be described as misperceived resilience, solely because I am still standing. People presume that when your children hurt in the ways ours have, you break. I reject that notion, as it infers that breaking is an option.
I sit now, perplexed. Questioning what strength really is in this society. Is it the merely the absence of weakness? And if that is the case, then what defines weakness? Is it being vulnerable? Is it questioning why the world works as it does? Is it accepting why one family continually boasts success while others battle unrelenting hardship? How do we gauge the tenacity and solidity of humans? I look to my fellow warrior moms and question if strength is not actually measured by the ability to take another step when nothing else makes sense, because I see no greater strength than that colossal expression of resilience.
I recognize the atrocities that exist. I recognize that some of those exist within my children and their formative experiences. But, I also see the countless moments of beauty and supremacy that coincide with these in great and obvious disparity. I try to make sense of this thought chaos that is whirling through my mind.
I glance out the window, the rain is coming down in summer storm fashion, obstructing the view. Reminding me of how blinded I can become by imposing my unfounded fears on a future which has yet to be actualized.
I observe my mind as it follows my physical body, seeking camaraderie with this unrelenting rain. I ache to connect with this emotion, almost a reassurance of my guiding principles to be tenacious. And then as suddenly as it began, the rain stops. As I emerge through the doors, an unexpected break in the clouds startles me, a stream of sunlight warms my face. I am bathed in the reassurance that every storm transitions into a peaceful moment where the rain slows to a mist, the clouds part and sunshine once again illuminates the path in front of me.